Sunday 28 November 2021

Real estate agents face new rules to improve house sale transparency

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The government wants real estate agents to keep a log book on how the bidding process for a property proceeds that everyone can check after the home has been sold.

The move, says home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren, ‘will remove the room for dishonest trading and everyone will know how the bidding went’.

Ollongren wants the sector to introduce the log books and says she will bring in draft legislation if it does not move fast enough. The log book is one of three measures the minister is planning in an effort to making the housing market fairer for buyers in the current overheated market.

There is, the minister said, a lot of uncertainty about what exactly the rules for buyers, sellers and brokers are. She now wants the sector to draw up an improvement plan which must be completed by the end of this year.

Ollongren also wants to ensure equal opportunities for buyers, so that those who want to have the property surveyed, or who still need to finalise the financial side of the deal, are not squeezed out.

The current competition on the housing market means that potential buyers who want to make sure the building is structurally sound, for example, are often being excluded from the bidding process.

Home owners association Vereniging Eigen Huis has also been calling for more transparency. The lack of rules and agreements is allowing ‘many estate agents to overstep sellers’ ethical boundaries’, the organisation says.

Henk Jansen, of Expat Mortgages, told DutchNews.nl that he supports any measure that increases transparency and is to the benefit of the buyer.

‘I am in favour of anything that is of advantage to the buyer,’ he said. ‘This is not about lower prices but about more transparency and it is obvious that some changes are needed.’

Protection

Estate agency Mie-Lan Kok told DutchNews.nl that the measure will help dispel the idea that estate agents make deals with each other and will give extra protection to buyers.

‘More and more bids are being arranged without a clause on financing and buyers are being seduced into doing this,’ she said. ‘But if their bank turns their mortgage request down, they can be fined up to 10% of the purchase price.’

Nevertheless, the measures are simply plasters on wounds, she said.  ‘The real problem lies in the fact that too few homes are being built. There is still a shortage of 300,000 homes in our country and much more of the focus should be on that.’

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